Friday, February 27, 2009

Good Eats: Santa Monica, California, Rustic Canyon

Rustic Canyon  1119 Wilshire Blvd., (310) 393-7050. D daily; $$$. Elegant yet casual, sleek yet comfortable, this relatively new dinner house has already claimed a loyal following. One feature that brought our large family group in is the tasty vegetarian options. A roasted beet salad was our favorite among many creative appetizer choices, and we all especially liked the pumpkin mezzaluna with brown butter and sage. A root vegetable shepherds pie fell short of expectations, but hand-cut french fries with aioli and the Niman Ranch burger topped with crispy onion rings didn’t—however the onion rings were missing from the burger (the kitchen can get frazzled when everyone shows up at once). Service is pleasant, and there are plenty of comfy booths.

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image courtesy of restaurant

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Misc.: Travel Tunes

My all-time favorite car-travel CD is The Rolling Stones "Let It Bleed." LOVE it, but have to watch that I don't push my pedal to the metal a little too hard.  Check out some more travel tunes here.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sights to See: Chile, Isla Negra

Pablo Neruda's gravesite
image copyright 2009 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
Poet Pablo Neruda’s former home on Chile’s coast is located in an area that is similar to Carmel in California, with windblown pines, rustic walkways, and the constant sound of waves breaking over the rustic rocky shore. Getting there from Santiago takes you through the lush Casablanca Valley, where grapes, avocados, lemons, and almonds grow. My tour bus took a scenic eucalyptus-edged shortcut past a 1,000-year-old cemetery. Neruda was a big collector “of things” and they are well displayed throughout: toys, bottles, ship figureheads (seen in the stone living room), piano leg supporters (though he never owned a piano), colored glass (Pablo thought everything tasted better from colored glass), wood carvings, model ships in bottles, 2 hummingbirds on pins. An entire room is devoted to a shell collection. Neruda bought the land with a small house in 1939, then, according to guide Phillipe, built out buildings to his “decide.” He included many arched doors and barrel-ceilinged rooms, including a dining room where his placemat indicated he was “the captain of his ship” (though he never sailed). The bedroom has a stunning ocean view and a bed with a white popcorn-stitch crocheted bedspread; his desk overlooks the sea (he wrote with green ink because of its closeness to nature). This was the most beloved of his houses “basically because of that ‘big pool’ (the ocean) outside.” Neruda passed away in the Santa Maria hospital by the Sheraton in Santiago, but is buried here—his grave looks like a stone ship’s bow—where he lived out his life with his third wife, Matilde.
also see:
(both in Spanish, in Neruda’s own words)

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